These three Brighton players have stunned fans with their displays this season

The three standout performers for Brighton heading into the international break...

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 6:14 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 6:14 pm
Neal Maupay has proved the doubters wrong so far this season

After the first seven games last season, Brighton were sitting 16th in the Premier League with only five points to their name.

A year on and Albion are ten spots better off after their seventh outing, two points behind league leaders Chelsea and level with both Manchester clubs.

Potter’s troops have outperformed in comparison to last season, creating and converting chances at a significantly higher rate without compromising their defensive solidity.

In particular, there are three members of the squad who deserve praise for their formidable starts to the season, and Seagulls fans will hope their performances continue long after the October international break.

Marc Cucurella: Despite featuring in just over half of Albion’s seven Premier League outings, Cucurella has adapted seamlessly to life at the Amex and produced four exceptional performances.

The 23-year-old has made the left flank his own since arriving from Getafe for £15.4m and provided Potter with a more dangerous outlet on the left-hand side.

Whilst he has yet to stuff the stat sheet with goals and assists, Cucurella has threatened opponents with his positioning in attacking areas. During his first three games in an Albion shirt,

Cucurella made 80 final-third touches as a wing back, compared to Solly March’s 39 in as many games.

The new arrival then put in a man-of-the-match performance against Arsenal, establishing his status as a new Amex fan favourite.

Cucurella gave Arsenal’s Takehiro Tomiyasu a serious headache at the weekend, outclassing the right back with both his physicality and technicality throughout the game.

Neal Maupay: If you asked any Seagulls fan where Brighton needed to invest this summer, a new striker would have likely been right at the top of their shopping list.

Despite creating a wealth of chances last season, Albion struggled to put the ball in the back of the net – and Neal Maupay took the brunt of the criticism from fans and pundits, after scoring only eight goals in 33 Premier League appearances.

Whilst some may still argue a new striker is needed, Maupay has more than staked his claim as Albion’s frontman in the future.

The Frenchman has scored four goals in the Premier League so far, bettered only by Mohamed Salah, Jamie Vardy and Michail Antonio.

His conversion rate has also notably improved compared to previous campaigns: Maupay’s last-minute equaliser against Crystal Palace was his fourth goal from 11 shots so far this season.

In contrast, Brighton’s No 9 only managed eight goals from 71 shots in 2020/21 and ten goals from 96 shots in 2019/20.

His reawakening in front of goal has been one of Brighton’s shining lights so far, and his significant improvement has helped skyrocket them towards the peak of the Premier League.

Shane Duffy: Shane Duffy’s resurgence is perhaps the greatest story of Brighton’s season so far.

Following Ben White’s transfer to Arsenal and the minor injuries to Joel Veltman and Dan Burn at the start of the season, Potter was left very short of options at centre half.

Despite a turbulent spell at Celtic last season, Duffy was given the nod and staked an impressive claim on the opening Saturday against Burnley, before later scoring a header against Watford the following week.

Ever since, the Irishman has looked both solid in defence and a threat from set-pieces.

Whilst Lewis Dunk deserves credit too for continuing to perform at a very high standard, Duffy’s comeback has caught the eye and typified Albion’s historic start to the season.

He has led by example both on and off the pitch and demonstrated the importance of resilience and hard work to the rest of the squad.